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Today, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer pushed RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer on whether or not President-elect Donald Trump needs to do a better job of disavowing the neo-Nazis who convened and celebrated his election this weekend. Today, he told writers from the New York Times that he condemns their behavior, but Blitzer wanted to know if that was enough. He questioned whether the President-elect should put out a statement to the entire country.
Spicer repeatedly said that Trump has plenty of other things to worry about, but Blitzer wouldn’t let up.
Eventually, the guest snapped, asking what more Trump can do to disavow white nationalists and saying things like, “At some point, you’ve gotta take his position and move on!”
Once again, Blitzer pushed for more, asking why the neo-Nazis like Trump so much.
“I don’t know! That’s really not my focus, figuring out why certain groups support him!” he said, moving on to call the repeated questions about white nationalism “preposterous.”
Spicer exploded, “You’ve asked me eight times, the same question! I’ve told you what his position is. That’s not his focus! His focus is making this country better for all Americans, creating a better country, creating a better education system for all Americans, rebuilding our inner cities. That’s what his focus is. So I get that you guys all want to ask the same question over and over again and make him denounce it eight ways to Sunday, but it’s not what he wants to talk about!”
He went on to ask if Trump needs to rent a plane and write his disavowal in the sky.
Donald Trump is tearing apart his party.
After a week of repeated allegations that Donald Trump sexually assaulted women at various stages of his life, top Republican donors and even some rank-and-file lawmakers are urging the party to fully cordon itself off from its presidential nominee.
Trump did himself no favors with this crowd this week: disparaging his accusers’ physical appearance, launching tirades against the press corps, and giving a more full throated endorsement of the notion that the election was rigged against him.
Watching from afar, a number of top Republican donors were aghast. One very high ranking Wall Street donor said that pressure on the RNC to cut ties with Trump “is intense.” As for the RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus, the donor warned that “his re-elect [as chair] was on the line by holding firm” to Trump.
Trump has put top Republicans in a bind, forced to choose between alienating the vast number of voters devoted to the real estate mogul and the elite wing of the party that finds him repulsive. So far, they have largely sought a middle ground, denouncing the candidate at times while never fully severing their ties. But as the election nears and the limit of Trump’s political abilities and appeal become clearer, walking that line has grown much harder.
One Republican National Committee member told The Huffington Post that he advised congressional candidates to avoid an event featuring Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, out of fear that they’d be hounded by the press over the nominee’s sexual assault allegations. Other party officials have told HuffPost that fundraising for down-ballot races has been hit hard by antipathy to Trump’s presence on the ticket.
Mark DeMoss, a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in 2012, is one of the donors sitting out this cycle. He acknowledged that it was “perhaps” unfair to congressional candidates embroiled in their own specific elections. But his distaste for the top of the ticket determined everything else.
“I’m very distraught about it,” he said. “I just think it’s the most shallow, petty, immature presidential race of my lifetime. I’m 54… I’m not sure how we got here and I’m not sure where we go from here, either.”
DeMoss, the head of a major Christian public relations firm, said he would be more inclined to give to the RNC if it formally broke with Trump. “But I wouldn’t give a dollar to the RNC if it was a joint funding project with the Trump campaign,” he said.
The RNC, for its part, has already begun diverting resources to down-ballot races. This week, they transferred $4.5 million to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $1.85 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee. But officials say they did so with the acquiescence of the Trump campaign and they continue to argue that there is no strategic rationale for abandoning the party’s nominee.
“It is job of the party to do everything it can to keep Democrats from winning office, number one. Number two is to fulfill the will of the people who determine our nominees,” said Sean Spicer, a top official at the RNC who works closely with Trump headquarters. “What do they want us to do? Tell me what it is that they want. What is that alternative they are asking for?
“It doesn’t make sense,” Spicer added. “If you are turning out a voter to vote in Ohio and Pennsylvania you don’t turn him out just to do certain things. And frankly if you talk to [Sens. Pat] Toomey or [Kelly] Ayotte, they won’t win unless they get the Trump supporters. It is a non-logical argument.”
But at least one GOP official involved in Senate campaigns says the party screwed up by sticking with Trump. “We should have dumped him,” said this official, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. “It’s too late now.”
The official described Senate candidates as being left in the lurch as the RNC focused on Trump triage. The never-ending stream of damaging Trump stories had forced them to keep contact with those vulnerable Senate candidates literally every hour, every day, on how to best navigate their races. And without sufficient funding help, they’ve been overwhelmed on the airwaves. In North Carolina, for example, Trump has spent roughly $3 million on TV ads compared to Clinton’s $20 million, said this official. This week, Clinton’s super PAC, Priorities USA, announced it may start spending specifically on Senate races, too.
“We are getting freaking slaughtered in TV spending,” said the official. “It’s not like he’s got some sort of awesome ground game going on, either. He’s not doing any data analysis.”
The RNC, the official added, wasn’t returning phone calls at this point. “They’re fucking useless,” the official said. Senate republicans, the official added, were “the only thing that’s going well at this point.”
Even House Republicans, whose majority once seemed secure, have begun fretting over the ripple effects of a Trump implosion. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said this week that he would place all his attention solely on congressional races. It was a nifty bit of misdirection, allowing Ryan to claim distance from Trump without actually reneging his endorsement. But it was symbolically important.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that there are candidates out there looking at polling numbers and coming to the conclusion that one of the better arguments they can make is they need to be a check and balance on Hillary Clinton if she is elected,” said Sam Geduldig, a GOP lobbyist who served as political director to the Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “It’s a good argument. It would resonate given Clinton’s poor polling numbers.”
The million dollar question confronting the Republican Party is whether such a shift will work. Even the mere appearance of abandoning Trump, after all, carries the risk of angering his base ― a problem that Trump defectors like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are now confronting. But this is what the nominee has wrought: a party split between those who adore him, those who hate him and those who must try and hold their nose around him.
It’s a dynamic perfectly personified by one top Republican fundraiser who is backing the nominee. Watching an interview Trump gave with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly this past week, this fundraiser said he was practically dumbfounded.
“O’Reilly interviewed him and threw him 15 softballs that he should have hit out of the park and what does he do? He sits there and stares and denounces [Paul] Ryan and McCain. I was watching with interest and my wife turned to me and said: ‘I don’t know if I could vote for him.’ I said, ‘You’re voting for him!’ But it went through my mind: What if Putin insults him? Does he drop a bomb on Moscow or something? I’m not sure he is stable.”
“I’m voting against her because I can’t stand the woman,” he explained, when asked how he could possibly vote for someone he thought might not be stable. “But I think he is a jackass and I don’t think he’s mentally balanced.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
In another blow to voter and racial suppression, a federal court just stuck down North Carolina’s racially designated gerrymandering ploy just weeks after the federal courts stuck down their racist voter ID law.
In the case, Covington v. North Carolina, the three judge panel in the Middle District ruled that North Carolina lawmakers (who have a supermajority in both state chambers) unconstitutionally used race as a key factor when redrawing the legislative districts for the state House and state Senate members in 2011.
However, because the decision was delivered late into the election season, the ruling will not take effect until the start of the new session in 2017, meaning voters will head to the voting booths in November under the jurisdiction of unconstitutional districts that do not accurately represent the voters in the state.
We regrettably conclude that due to the mechanics of state and federal election requirements, there is insufficient time, at this late date, for: the General Assembly to draw and enact remedial districts; this Court to review the remedial plan; the state to hold candidate filing and primaries for the remedial districts; absentee ballots to be generated as required by statute; and for general elections to still take place as scheduled in November 2016.
Not only does the decision affect the state legislature districts, but also congressional districts. Even though Mitt Romney won North Carolina by less than two percent against President Obama in 2012, of the 13 congressional districts, Democrats only won three.
In 2010, even with the Republican takeover in Congress, and a year before the new districts were drawn, seven Democrats won and six Republicans won.
I wonder what changed.
Republicans’ attempt to block blacks and minorities from voting and having adequate representation has suffered another blowback from the courts. No wonder Republicans are so hostile to the judiciary – they keep blocking their suppression of the electorate.
The court found:
There are 120 state House districts and 50 state Senate districts. The court found that 28 of those districts were illegal racial gerrymanders.
As Republican loyalists continue to flee, Donald Trump ignited new party tensions by refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or a pair of senators seeking re-election, a remarkable display of party division just three months before Election Day
HBO’s Last Week Tonight, an emotional and angry John Oliver wrapped up his comparison of the Republican and Democratic national conventions with a withering commentary on GOP nominee Donald Trump’s smear of the family of a war hero.
Going where regular cable pundits won’t or can’t go, the HBO host cut tight to chase by addressing Trump as: “you f*cking asshole.”
After showing clips of Trump speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, where he appeared to make it seem that Ghazala Khan — the grieving mother of war hero Capt. Humayun Khan — was afraid to speak in front of her husband due to the family’s religious beliefs, Oliver unloaded on Trump.
“Okay,” Oliver began, “For a start, his wife has explained that she chose not to speak because she gets too upset when she sees images of her dead son’s face, you f*cking asshole. But, I’m sorry, please continue.”
After running a clip of Trump comparing the”sacrifices” he made while building up his businesses to the loss of Khan’s son, Oliver had enough.
“No. No they absolutely are not” Oliver railed. “They are half-truths from a self-serving half-man who has somehow convinced half the country that sacrifice is the same thing as success.”
“Honestly, the main take-away from these two weeks is that, incredibly, we may be on the brink of electing such a damaged, sociopathic narcissist, that the simple presidential duty of comforting the families of fallen soldiers mat actually be beyond his capabilities,” Oliver exclaimed. “And I genuinely did not think that was the part of the job that someone could be bad at.”
Watch the video below, via YouTube:
(Image Credit: Getty Images)
The American political party that is poised to knight a real estate mogul turned reality TV star as its presidential nominee is also on verge of taking a diversity blow. As the Republican Party rolls out its convention red carpet for Donald Trump, elected GOP officials who fit the demographics that he has routinely lampooned — women and minorities — are in danger of losing reelection, The Hill reported Tuesday.
This comes as the GOP scrambles to find candidates who might energize young, millennial voters. Their efforts seem to have fallen flat this year — the National Republican Congressional Committee last week released a list of 11 top-tier candidates for its millennial-focused “Young Guns” program and they were mostly white and male.
Meanwhile, Democrats will likely retain or see gains in House representation of women, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans, according to The Hill. Most of the women and minority members of Congress are Democrats.
Women make up just 84 of 435 House members — of which 22 are Republicans. All 10 of the Asian-American House members are Democrats. Two of the 43 black House members are Republicans, while six of the 29 Latino House members are GOP.
On the Senate side, 20 of 100 current members are women, while just six are people of color. That breaks down to one Asian-American, three Latinos and two blacks. Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are the GOP members of color.
It’s no secret that the Republican Party has historically struggled to attract minorities. The party has been more recently linked to policies such as voter ID laws and transgender bathroom bills that have a disproportionate negative impact on racial minorities and the LGBTQ community. But diversity problems have also shown up at the local levels.
The nation as a whole is roughly 33% nonwhite, according to the Pew Research Center. But only 14% of state legislators are racial minorities, according to a New American Leaders Project report released in January.
The Republican National Committee called for the party to embrace diverse candidates following the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country,” an RNC report states.
Authors of the report added: “When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us.”
So, who might young Republicans and independents of color listen to? Reps. Mia Love (R-UT) and Will Hurd (R-Texas), who are black, and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who is Hispanic — each are fighting uphill battles for reelection, according to The Hill.
If Love and Hurd lose in November, and no other candidates of color are elected, the GOP will have no African-Americans in what is supposed to be the nation’s more representative body.
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Longtime conservative columnist George Will is wiping his hands clean of the Republican Party.
“This is not my party,” Will told PJ Media on Saturday. The Washington Post writer said a Democratic presidency would be better than the alternative offered by Donald Trump — who once called Will a “major loser.”
“Make sure he loses,” Will said of the presumptive GOP nominee. “Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House.”
His voter registration in Maryland has now changed from Republican to “unaffiliated,” PJ Media reported. The final straw was House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s (R-Wis) endorsement of Trump, he said.
In the meantime, Trump continues to fumble over himself. Just this week, he fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski before setting off to Scotland to promote his golf resorts.
“He had one good day because he didn’t vomit all over himself and gave a decent speech,” GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak said of Trump.
Getty Images/Rob Jenkins
Donald Trump has been irritating everyone lately. It has gotten to the point that even many of the most horrific conservatives can’t look past the hate speech and general insanity that has accompanied The Donald’s attempt to become Dictator-in-Chief. For the most part, they have been fine with Trump’s bigotry: his suggestion that Muslims should be crammed into concentration camps while those not already in the country should be banned, his talk of building walls to keep brown people out of the country, his numerous racist and misogynist statements, and his support of his horrible followers beating African-Americans at his rallies. They’ve even been fine with his itchy trigger finger when it comes to launching nuclear weapons.
But Trump’s recent attacks on a “Mexican” federal judge from Indiana, his rapidly-dropping poll numbers, and his slightly more reasonable remarks about gun safety regulations, have the delegates he has earned ready for mutiny. The Washington Post reports that delegates are hatching plans to stop Trump. While many others have attempted to start movements to end Trump for good, this time it’s different — the people who make the rules are the ones leading the movement:
The delegates are angered by Trump’s recent comments on gun control, his racial attacks on a federal judge and his sinking poll numbers. They are convinced that Trump is an insufficiently conservative candidate and believe they will find enough like-minded Republicans within the next month to change party rules and allow delegates to vote for whomever they want, regardless of who won their state caucus or primary.
“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” said Kendal Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado who is leading the campaign. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
The fresh wave of anti-Trump organizing comes as a growing number of Republicans have signaled that they will not support Trump for president. In addition, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is slated to chair the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland, said in remarks released Friday that House Republicans should “follow their conscience” on whether to support Trump.
The new anti-Trump movement is pushing for a change to party rules that would allow them to vote for whomever they want if their “conscience” (term used loosely because our friends on the Right don’t have those) doesn’t allow them to support that person.
On Friday, Trump dismissed the plot against him.
“I won almost 14 million votes, which is by far more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican primaries,” Trump said. “I have tremendous support and get the biggest crowds by far and any such move would not only be totally illegal but also a rebuke of the millions of people who feel so strongly about what I am saying.”
“People that I defeated soundly in the primaries will do anything to get a second shot — but there is no mechanism for it to happen,” the billionaire concluded. But those in charge of the latest effort to shut Trump down say they do not have a specific candidate in mind.
According to those involved, at least 30 delegates in 15 states have signed on — a small fraction of the more than 2,400 delegates who will be at the convention in Cleveland.
“Trump just continues to embarrass himself and his party and this is not going to let up,” Iowa GOP delegate Cecil Stinemetz told the Post. “Trump just continues to embarrass himself and his party and this is not going to let up.”
Will the movement succeed? Will Trump continue to embarrass his party and Americans as a whole.
By John Prager
According to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate majority whip who was also in attendance, Trump “seemed certainly open and willing to listen.”
“He is actually a pretty affable guy, much different than sort of the public demeanor, but it must be working for him,” Cornyn said.
Trump met with Hatch, Cornyn, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other prominent GOP senators at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee offices a few blocks from the Capitol. The meeting lasted about an hour. Outside a group of anti-Trump protesters chanted and sang. Earlier in the morning Trump also met with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and other House leaders at the RNC headquarters.
The Kumbaya moment comes as some Republican lawmakers, including Ryan, balked at supporting him outright after he emerged the GOP nominee last week.
But the words “positive” and “productive” were lobbed frequently by senators to describe Thursday’s pow-wow.
“It was a very gracious and positive meeting and I already feel pretty good about it, but I feel even better,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, who, as the NRSC chair, attended the Trump meeting.
“It was a good back and forth,” he told reporters afterward.
According to those present in the Senate meeting, the topics of discussion included trade, energy, the debt, the Supreme Court, as well as the impact Trump will have down the ballot.
“I think they’ve got some work to do on the policy front,” Cornyn said, when asked if Trump had settled on a tax plan.
Cornyn also said that, as a border state senator who won a majority of Texas’ Hispanic vote, he offered Trump some advice on his tone on immigration: “I said, there is a way to talk about these issues that people don’t find offensive yet still make the point that we’re all for secure borders.”
There was “some peripheral discussion” of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration, Hatch said, adding, “but I can’t remember what was said.”
But more generally, those present said they weren’t too concerned about Trump’s rhetoric.
“He doesn’t have to [change his tone],” Hatch said, “because the whole discussion was very solid.”
Hatch was asked if he got the sense that Trump was on board with Republicans and their agenda.
“Well, it was only an hour-long discussion,” he said.
Lauren Fox contributed to this report.